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Up the mountain we go

Column by Erin Gutzwiller

For years it has always been a tradition that the last weekend in April the students of Bridgewater College go camping in West Virginia. Rain or shine, the camping trip known as Flagpole occurs, and this year was my last Flagpole adventure ever. Camping attire on, coolers packed with hot dogs, hamburgers, and of course some beers, we headed into the woods for the weekend of camping.

The smell of the camp fire brings back memories of previous Flagpoles and the sadness of this being my last Flagpole. I am not a nature person, and the thought of staying in the woods for the weekend does not excite me. But when it comesto Flagpole, I do not let Mother Nature stnad in my way. Friday evening was full of campfire smells and the guitar being played by the light of the fire. Besides the good things was the little pest that the outdoors produce, flies, nasty spiders, popping a squat in the woods. I mean, honestly, flies and spiders are probably the grossest things that crawl into your bags and on your body.

Besides creepy crawlies comes the unfortunate mistakes made from those under the influence. One of my rooomates decided that it was a good idea for her hair to be trimmed by a hatchet. I mean, she wanted her split ends gone, and my God, they are gone, along with half of her hair. Saturday brought a little rain to the campsite, but I see it as just weeding out the weak campers. Wet tents, wet fire wood and wet clothes, I mean, is that all you got?

Just like Spring Break was one of those last hoorays of the year, so was this camping trip. All of my friends were surrounded around the fire and memories from the last four years came back to me. With exactly two weeks until graduation, everything seems so unsure to me.

Would I ever be able to go on a camping trip like this one ever again, or was this my last one with all my friends? The weekend was a time of true bonding because cell phones and AIM did not work. It was the true outdoors, and all of our friends that bonded togehter, some bonded more with the outdoors than needed. The showers in the cold creek and the ones that never quite made it back to their tents for the nights and passed out under the stars, it’s just all part of the game at Flagpole. It’s survival of the fittest, who can drink the most, stay up the latest, and grill the best food over the open fire.

This weekend was just one more step into reality. It was another signal whispering in my ear saying, You’re almost an adult. A little scary, yes, but at least I can say that I have had a great four years with my friends at Bridgewater, and even good things have to come to an end. Flagpole will continue to be a tradition for years to come, a tradition that alwasy comes with stories, memories, and, oh yes, the victory of surviving in the deep woods of West Virginia.


Erin Gutzwiller is an Augusta Free Press Intern.

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